How do you set up elearning course packages through the internet when you are one of the first to do so? This is the question that PlusPort founders Ron Bruijn and Yvonne Loef asked each other in 2003. Ron from his expertise in the field of bandwidth and internet at KPNQwest, and Yvonne from an educational perspective.
During the founding of PlusPort in November 2003, the internet was not as common and developed as it is today. Yvonne and Ron came to the conclusion that someone would require intrinsic motivation to want to learn online, instead of sitting in a classroom. Looking back, every time we launched a new product, the question would be: “What’s in it for me?”. E-learning course packages had to be cheap, high quality, and immediately accessible. It couldn’t be a book; it had to provide
THE FIRST STEP ON THE MARKET
Certificates or diplomas to are required for your function turned out to be a good motivation. When VCA certification started to become increasingly important for safety at work, we launched our first product: the internet-based VCA training. No more listening to someone reading aloud all day, but rather interactive training modules, relevant questions, examples of safe behaviour, tests, and – especially – sound and video assignments.
In the first three years, it was proving to be very difficult to convince clients regarding the benefits of online learning. This was partially because there was little information available about this form of learning, but also because they did not believe that operational employees would be able to do this. Of course we persevered, and more and more clients were willing to make the leap due to the cost-effectiveness and improved efficiency. And they did so successfully!
Since 2003 over 90,000 candidates successfully completed one of our safety e-learnings that we offer on our direct-websites. And we’re proud of that fact!
CONTINUED GROWTH AND MAIN PRIORITIES
Since PlusPort was founded many classroom educators copied us or joined as distributors. They ensure that our digital trainings are combined with their own expertise of the products they offer.
Many of our clients grew alongside us. Initially we offered all variants of VCA (Basic VCA, VOL-VCA and VIL-VCU) or a combination thereof. Now we also provide other products as well, such as NEN 3140, BHV (Emergency Response), AED, Forklift, Safe roadside working, Airfreight, ATEX, and many more. With tens of thousands of clients, we are now the largest player in the field of safety certification among Dutch educational institutes.
Providing safety trainings over the internet is still one of our three focal areas. The second priority naturally followed from the client demand to offer custom developed e-learning modules as well. PlusPort has its own great and professional team, fully focused on the development of custom and standard e-learning trainings. All our knowledge is in-house: video preparation and development, concept and text development, design, drawings, and much more. PlusPort believes that nothing, except for studio work like video or audio recording, should be outsourced to external parties. This way, our clients know that the source materials or parts of a training cannot just be found somewhere online.
Our third main priority has existed since the start of PlusPort and took flight a few years later, with 200 active academies with almost 300,000 active users by 2015. Our web-based LMS Academy system quickly grew into a full-fledged education management system for managing and organising competencies, functions, e-learning, classroom training, and much more.
The PlusPort academy software was a result of the increasing demand for compliance and certification management. This is the strength of the software: not merely completing trainings for a particular function. The focus instead is placed on the final documents such as certificates and diplomas, and being compliant for the position, role and task within the organization. The second pillar of the system is elearning. PlusPort itself is a major publisher of safety trainings, the LMS Academy adheres to all the global standards and you immediately have the option to purchase or link the software with third parties. The fourth pillar is not just the possibility to connect to HR systems, but managing policy in the LMS Academy software as well where a major part of the performance management can be organised. Our biggest USP, however, is that organisations can easily save money by making use of the planning and administration components. This part is very extensive, from calendar and budgets to year planning, where providers and other companies can register to an education, course or training through the friend relation feature: more candidates means fewer expenses!